Recently painted the kitchen or living room walls? Or maybe you’ve finally gotten around to giving the shed a wood varnish makeover? When you’re doing a bit of colourful DIY work, the paint cans can quickly stack up. Half-used paints may have accumulated in your garage for years, never to be used again. It’s time to clear them out. But what do you do with near-empty or even half-full paint cans? How do you safely and responsibly dispose of paint correctly? We’ll show you!
If you haven’t used your paint yet but decided against a colour or varnish, you can simply take it back to the shop. As long as you’ve kept the receipt and are still within the return period, stores have to accept your returned paint cans.
Just because you don’t want the olive-green wall paint or the wood varnish doesn’t mean someone else won’t.
Before you give away old paint, make sure it’s still in good condition. Paint can be stored for up to 10 years in most cases. Oil-based paints last even longer. It’s best to smell the paint to see if it can be reused. If it has a strong, pungent odour, it may be off, and all you can do is bin it.
If it’s in good condition, you could post them to an online classified site that accepts freebies. There are plenty of recycling websites where people can exchange their goods. Someone will be sure to put up their hand for it. Alternatively, look for a charity or community project that may be in need of your unused paints.
When you’ve decided that the paint has got to go or there are no takers for your free offerings, you should let it dry out before recycling the tins - especially if there is very little paint left in them. You can just tip the small amount of paint onto newspaper, cardboard, or something similar and leave it to dry.
While it’s always good to know how to dispose of paint, it’s best to check out local regulations on discarding paint with household waste. For example, if paint tins are empty, they’re often suitable for household recycling bins. You can also take your unwanted household paint to your nearest paint recycling initiative site , commonly located at council depots and transfer stations.